Tuesday, July 12, 2011

More on the Marriage Watershed

The NY gay marriage vote continues to resound. Because it represents the first legislative victory for same-sex marriage, and because it is coincident with polling that indicates a majority of Our Republic's citizens don't see gender as a significant issue in marriage, one can say with some justification that we are at a cultural watershed.

So what should Christians do without cultural support for the Christian ideal of faithful monogamy that they have enjoyed for centuries? Columnist Rod Dreher doesn't know exactly, but he states well the broad outline:

What church leaders need now is to have a frank conversation among themselves, and to come up with a strategy for survival in the age to come. No, I'm not talking about surviving a persecution (though that may yet come), but rather the survival of authentic Christianity in a culture that is growing increasingly alien, even hostile, to what, from a sociological point of view, could be its core teaching.

We urge careful reading of Dreher's column for its sober assessment of the miserable situation that the present presents. This is a jeremiad, but a justified one.


JB in CA said...

I think the Christian response to the normalization of divorce is a clue to how Christians will handle the normalization of same-sex marriage.

Anonymous said...

I think SWNiD needs to consider doing what he advocates for so many other things that some see as crises. ADAPT!

Jon A. Alfred E. Michael J. Wile E. SWNID said...

Yes, Anon, as Dreher says. Surrender is a form of adaption, of course, but there are others, yes? We hope that you don't assume that surrender is the only adaptation.

becka said...

I know this isn't a new piece of the broader conversation, but call me crazy, I just don’t see how same sex marriage is antithetical to “the Christian ideal of faithful monogamy.” I agree that faithful monogamy is likely the best model for intimate adult relationships, but how is the sex or gender identity of those in the partnership relevant to its existence?

Also, Mr. Dreher’s comment seems quite problematic. The context in which you’ve quoted him makes it seem as though he’s claiming that marriage between opposite gendered people is the “core teaching “ of Christianity. Even with the qualifier “from a sociological point of view,” that’s not a Christianity that I want to have anything to do with. Jesus is so dynamic, and Christianity so radical; the social/sociological implications of the Christian faith are mind-blowing (e.g., who is my neighbor?). But if the core teaching of Christianity is a discriminatory rule about who can marry, count me 100% out.

Jon A. Alfred E. Michael J. Wile E. SWNID said...

Becka, before confessing Christians cede to the revision of the historic sense of "monogamy," they ought to reckon with the serious theological problems with equating same-sex relationships with opposite-sex relationships. As we have done before, we recommend Robert Gagnon on this subject. We insist that those with the ability to process thoughtful theology, like yourself, wrestle with the issues that Gagnon raises so well before drawing conclusions like the one you seem to be drawing.

If as you say, you "don't see" the difference, you need to understand what Gagnon articulates about the very vital difference.

Despite our best efforts to define gender as something that like race is a social construct, fixed categories of male and female persist outside of any social context (there's an anatomical reality here, and it extends well beyond the obvious, as we continue to learn). Relationships with one who is essentially like an individual are therefore fundamentally different from those with someone essentially unlike. Whether we're willing to pay the price of that observation is a hard, utterly necessary question.

It is not loving my neighbor to equate evil with good. That's the essential question here, and it can't be glossed over.